IDAHO FALLS — Senior Nina McDonnell tied her season best round with an 87, coming under the pressure-packed atmosphere at state on a new course Monday, highlighting day one of the 4A Idaho State Golf Championships at a windy and cold Pinecrest Golf Course in Idaho Falls.
McDonnell struggled a bit while going out in a 46, but picked things up on the back nine with a 41. She tied for 8th individually, with only one golfer in the field breaking 80 with a 73. A good round today could move McDonnell up a congested leader board fast, and with some new knowledge of the course she could be ready to drop some strokes.
Bulldog head coach Tom Tharp likened Pinecrest to a popular nine-hole track in Sandpoint.
“It’s a lot like the Elks, only longer, with tree-line fairways and hard greens,” described Tharp, noting strategy is essential. “The key to this golf course, all you need to do is hit it straight and stay below the pin on the second shot. The greens are hard and fast.”
Junior Damien Fitzpatrick shot 81 (41-40), which while not a bad round, puts him on the outside looking in for a top 10 finish and state medal. Fitzpatrick will have to have one of his best rounds of the year to medal, as there are currently 11 players at 76 or better, including a pair leading at the field at 68.
Tharp said both of his golfers have a firm goal in mind, and both have the potential to make it happen.
“Their goal is to finish in the top 10 individually so they get a medal,” he said. “They’re close, it will be nip and tuck.”
State wraps up today with the second of two rounds at Pinecrest.